There's a chance the Billings Mustangs and the Ogden Raptors gave a seven-game preview of this year's Pioneer League championship series over the last two weeks.
The Raptors ran away with the South Division's first-half race and have the league's best overall record. Billings entered Sunday's series finale at Lindquist Field with a 15-5 record, prepping to run away with the North's second-half title.
So Sunday's back-and-forth game, where the two teams traded big hits and played 12 innings, was fitting. In the end, Niko Hulsizer came through twice in extras, hitting a sacrifice fly in the 12th to give Ogden an 8-7 win at Lindquist Field.
While Billings (30-29, 15-6) did win the season series 5-2, Ogden (38-22, 12-10) dropped two of those games by one run and all of them went into the final innings with the result still in doubt.
The teams traded a run apiece early Sunday when Pabel Manzanero hit a solo homer for Billings and Daniel Robinson gave Ogden an answer with an RBI double.
The Mustangs put up the game's first crooked number in the fourth when Juan Martinez singled in two for a 3-1 lead.
The Raptors returned serve in the bottom of the frame when Jon Littell hit a solo homer and Marco Hernandez hit a two-run shot, while Robinson again punched home a run to give Ogden a 5-3 advantage.
Billings came right back, using a Drew Mount two-run homer to take a 6-5 lead in the top of the fifth. Kenneth Betancourt singled in a run for Ogden in the sixth, knotting it at 6-6.
Ogden's pitching staff locked down from there. In fact, Connor Mitchell, Luis Pasen and Evy Ruibal held the Mustangs to one hit over the final seven innings.
The only run those three surrendered came in the top of the 10th, when, according to minor-league rules, each team begins with a runner on second base in extra innings. Dylan Harris hit a sacrifice fly for Billings to go up 7-6, which goes in the books as an unearned run.
Ogden answered in the bottom of the frame when Hulsizer drove in James Outman with a single.
The Raptors loaded the bases in the bottom of the 12th with one out when Hulsizer's sacrifice fly scored Robinson for the win.
Ogden moves on to a four-game set against the Great Falls Voyagers at Lindquist Field, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Monday.